Before we put away the pumpkins for good and bring out (prematurely, if you ask us) the Christmas decorations now on display in most shops. We wanted to explore a theme we never thought we’d associate with the thrills and chills of Halloween… Widely nicknamed amenities on the European continent, toilets can be described as rare, dangerous or discriminating in other parts of the world. In this article, no ghost stories, but a few facts about toilets that give us the chills. Forget urban legends and scary tales, because reality can sometimes be far more surprising, even revolting!

2.4 billion people worldwide have no access to adequate sanitation  

It sounds like a lot, but it’s a fact reported by the UN. For women, this means using open-air toilets, exposing them to health and safety risks. Others have to walk for miles to get to a toilet, which is often unsanitary. Travelling these great distances is not without danger: women are exposed to risks of violence, sexual assault and exploitation. Darkness, isolation and distance from home make them more vulnerable, especially at night.

world toilet day

The absence of toilets in some regions also forces people to defecate in the open air, exposing them to water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera, which often affect children, leading to a higher infant mortality rate. Contamination of drinking water is another factor not to be overlooked. Human excrement that finds its way into the environment can pollute water supplies, exposing villagers to additional health risks… 

MDG 6 aims to guarantee access to adequate sanitation for all by 2030. The Bill Melinda & Gates Foundation is working on high-tech toilets for the poorest regions to guarantee dignified sanitary access for all. The Toilets For All Foundation, for its part, aims to provide safe, sustainable sanitation solutions in schools, making education a lever for development.

1 pupil in 3 refuses to go to the toilet at school

These are the conclusions of a Harpic-Harris study

Many students say they don’t want to use their school’s toilets: “It’s dirty and smelly”, “It’s not hygienic, I’m afraid of catching germs”. And yet, according to the Pause Pipi podcast, we evacuate an average of 1.5 liters of urine a day, the equivalent of a tanker truck in a lifetime. These figures show that it’s vital to urinate several times a day. In the same podcast, the notion of privacy in nursery school toilets is discussed, as well as the toilets transitioning from a place of ease to a place of harassment. The “secret” nature of toilets often makes them the preferred place for certain forms of physical and moral persecution at school. For some students, toilets are a place to avoid, and they’re afraid to go there. 

toilets at school

The result? 

Many rush to the bathroom when they get home. But holding back for 8 hours during the day can lead to a number of problems: urinary tract infections, constipation and acute stomach aches. A situation that jeopardizes the health of thousands of schoolchildren.

80% of women avoid using public toilets

Most women prefer to stay at home for safety and cleanliness reasons, rather than use public toilets. We conducted a field survey at madamePee on the use of public toilets in the city, which showed us that 95% of the women questioned had already found themselves in a situation where female urinals would have been useful. A more than uncomfortable position which reflects a real need: to offer women intimate, hygienic and safe toilets in the city. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Women’s urinals are gradually making their appearance in cities such as Paris, Pau and Rennes. To continue this discussion, we invite you to meet us at the Salon des Maires et des Collectivités locales in Paris from November 21 to 23, 2023, stand C99, Pavillon 3.

Flushing accounts for more than 300,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of drinking water every year in France

No, no, you’re not having a nightmare. It’s an alarming reality… In a world where the effects of climate change cannot be ignored, our consumption of drinking water must be rationalized. This summer’s water shortage has brought with it droughts, and later on floods that are disrupting natural water cycles. Resulting in major impact on water supplies in many parts of the world. 

If we don’t want to live in an apocalyptic world, it’s high time we took matters into our own hands! They are small everyday gestures that everyone can do, such as making sure the toilet doesn’t leak, installing a dual-flow flush or opting for a water-saving toilet bag! In the event industry, the adoption of waterless toilets and urinals is a step towards more sustainable events. It makes sense at any event, large or small. In cities with the same process, it also means that toilets can be installed much more freely, without having to connect to a water supply.

Women wait more than 20 minutes to use festival toilets

Tough reality… Toilets are often a nightmare for women. The reason? The never-ending wait at festivals’ toilets. This is what inspired Nathalie des Isnards, CEO of madamePee, to come up with fast, hygienic urinals for women. While attending a festival, she went for a quick pee break. The result? After waiting more than 25 minutes, she missed the start of the concert. Meanwhile, the men had to wait no more than 2 minutes. A nightmare situation for someone who thought she could enjoy her festival to the full. 

This long waiting time for women can be explained by a number of factors: clothing, bowl cleanliness, sitting position, periodic protection changes… But it’s not enough to explain the extreme gap between the two sides.

On average, a woman spends 3 minutes in the toilet, compared with 40 seconds for men. madamePee urinals help to reduce usage time and cut queues at major events.

Although mentioned in almost casual terms, these facts are a harsh reality for a large part of the population. Some with very serious consequences, others in opposition to the safe, egalitarian world we want to build. Everywhere, billions of people still do not have access to adequate sanitation. Of course, this is a health issue, but it’s also a question of dignity for everyone. 

If you’d like to make a difference in your own way, take an interest in solidarity races such as the Urgent Run, which takes place on November 18. 

The aim? To raise funds for sanitation programs in Togo and Benin.